Facebook is making the process of monetizing its messenger platform easier and more productive with the launch of version 1.3. Now that the site’s News Feed favors friends over businesses, reaching a brand’s audience will be a lot harder to do organically. To combat this, the new update integrates News Feed ads that launch a Messenger conversation, where users can interact directly with the brand.
Absolut Vodka, who has been testing the new monetization option, has Joao Rozario, the company’s vice president of marketing, singing its praises. He says that the News Feed ads are a “call to conversation, which ultimately leads to a conversion. So far, our activation rate has exceeded execution benchmarks by two times and we’re looking forward to continued increases in activations driven by News Feed ads over the key holiday period,” Rozario said on Facebook’s blog.
A Facebook user who leaves a conversation open is an opportunity to re-engage, and this is where sponsored messages play a role. Sponsored messages give businesses the ability to send targeted updates, information about promotions, reminders and other relevant messages. Facebook has been testing the sponsored message idea since April and its goes live with Messenger 1.3.
Now, more than a billion people use Facebook Messenger every month. For brands who utilize Facebook Messenger bots, the new update also offers valuable insight into entry points and traffic. “Another great use case the parameter enables is creating dedicated entry points to specific features or flows within a bot,” explained David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products. “You can now easily implement a coupon program, enhance/track virality with a referral program and much more.”
This latest roll-out of updates continues a string of moves by Facebook to seamlessly integrate social conversations into revenue for brand partners. The “recommendations” feature, for example, allows users to ask friends and family advice about where to go, what to do and what to buy. Those comments are then mapped out and stored in a special tab for later access.
The internet experienced a 29 percent increase in mobile conversion rates in the past year, according to Google, and 45 percent of shopping trips include some mobile shopping, according to a Facebook IQ study conducted last year of US internet users.
Mobile users turn to their phones for everything from conversations to shopping, and Facebook’s new updates could effectively combine these two past times into a one-stop shop.
Instagram shares a common appeal with video games, in that they are both visual mediums that appeal to social-savvy millennials. Emarketer predicts that by 2019, nearly two-thirds of all millennial smartphone users will use Instagram and a recent study by Newzoo suggests that 65 percent of eSports enthusiasts actively use the platform as well.
For the big launch of its PlayStation 4 Pro, Sony took to Instagram Stories on Wednesday evening to share videos of the long, cheering line and launch party culminating in the opportunity for some to purchase the new console at midnight. Sony even took the time to highlight Joey, a fan who was first line for the PS4 when it launched in 2013 and showed up first again for the Pro on Wednesday.
Instagram’s ease of use help keep gaming brands “in the know” and able to react in real-time. When the latest video trend in the #MannequinChallenge started making the rounds this week, Titanfall 2 answered the call with its own “frozen in time” video that garnered over 11,000 views in just two days.
Naturally, the most obvious way for gaming brands to use Instagram is by promoting games through organic and sponsored posts. Last fall, game publishers accounted for more than one-quarter of Instagram ads and Facebook’s targeted options make it easy to get messages in a gamer’s feed. Blizzard ads were spotted this week offering discounts in honor of BlizzCon, as well as an organic post for Watch Dogs 2 as part of its “Selfie Reveal” campaign—allowing users to “data mine” their own selfies for what “Big Brother” might see.
While AAA console titles interact with fans on the platform, mobile game publishers have found tremendous success thanks to Facebook’s targeted ads. A week before the launch of SuperFantasyWar, Nexon created an ad campaign on Instagram to raise brand awareness and encourage pre-registration. The sponsored post resulted in 20 percent more registrants than targeted and a 5.2 times link click rate, all while enjoying a 37 percent decrease in cost-per-click.
Influencers play an important role for gaming brands, too. Bejeweled created a hashtag called #shinyplace and enlisted the help of Instagram stars like David Lopez and Koya Webb to promote the game. According to AppAnnie, Bejeweled’s ranking rose 520 places after the app’s Instagram campaign.
A photo posted by David Lopez (@davidlopezfilms) on
Gamers gotta game, and a whole lot of them are on Instagram looking at gaming company profiles or products. According to Instagram Advertiser statistics, 50 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business, 60 percent say that they learn about a product or service on the platform and 75 percent of Instagram users take action such as visiting a website after looking at an Instagram advertising post. Custom hashtags and Facebook metrics make this social media platform an effective place to measure return on investment and keep those players engaged.
The virtual reality market continues to expand with new hardware and software pushing the boundaries outward. The end of this year will see millions of more VR hardware installed, and hundreds of applications. Millions of people are now experiencing VR for themselves on a regular basis, and thus the market as a whole is beginning to get more real. The Interactive Advertising Bureau gathered a report on the subject, titled Is Virtual the New Reality?: A Market Snapshot of VR Publishing and Monetization.
Defining VR properly is still a matter for concern, with 360-degree videos somewhat confusing the issue—partly because those are a popular way to try and present VR content to someone who doesn’t have VR hardware.
“I think we need to clearly distinguish the two, because when we’re talking to advertisers or partners, we need to clarify which one offers just a point of view and means of looking around, and which one is more immersive,” said Time Inc.’s Chris Hercik. “360 VR experiences are great on-ramps to VR and for acquainting consumers with the medium, but the platforms that offer more immersion and interaction—especially in room scale—are undeniably compelling,” added Time managing editor Mia Tramz.
The report noted that VR experiences can be categorized by the level of immersion and complexity involved—which also tends to reflect the cost of creation, and the cost of the hardware necessary to deliver the experiences. That dictates the audience available, which of course is a key factor in what marketers are looking for when thinking about VR. Thus, 360 video (which can be found on YouTube and Facebook) has the largest available audience, while the full-on PC VR that is delivered by Oculus Rift and HTC Vive is a much smaller audience.
The New York Times has found great success with its VR app with more than a million users at launch and a subsequent 950,000 downloads. Users spend an average of over six minutes in the app, with 58 percent of users returning every month.
VR Goes Live
One of the strong growth areas for VR lies in the realm of live content, which right now is often centered around sports. Turner Sports, in partnership with Oculus VR, has begun livestreaming sporting events like NCAA basketball to Samsung Gear VR users.
“What better way to give people access than to than to put them in the live game itself,” says Mark Johnson of Turner Sports.
Fox Sports is also a believer in live VR content, working with NextVR to create live VR sports experiences.
VR Draws Marketers
Part of the strong attraction VR holds for marketers is the deep immersion that it brings. That tends to emphasize any message, and when properly presented, the emotional impact of VR is much greater than simply viewing something on a screen (or even interacting with things on a screen). While creating VR content is more difficult than working in traditional media, the payoff could be much greater engagement.
“Publishers we spoke with agreed that agencies and advertisers have been very interested and active in pursuing VR and 360 video opportunities, often as components of larger digital campaigns,” noted the IAB report. “The challenge for sellers is simultaneously qualifying and educating buyers on what’s actually possible—while it’s being invented.”
Still, it’s not easy developing content for VR, and that’s a big consideration for marketers who contemplate using VR in marketing efforts.
While VR still has a long way to go to approach the flood of data available with mobile advertising, several firms are already working on supplying information to marketers about VR advertising efforts. “We’re able to track a wide range of events that enable clients to do their own engagement calculations,” said CEO Mihir Shah of VR adtech firm Immersv. “At the end of the day, it’s all based on a video view. We’re seeing an 81 percent gaze-through rate on our campaigns, which means the user gazed all the way through the video. And network-wide we’re seeing a 35 percent conversion rate.”
VR/AR Standards On The Way
Standards for advertising formats are under construction by IAB, in an effort to help publishers and advertisers prepare for the various formats that are becoming new destinations for advertising.
This will include guidelines for 360 videos and photos as well as AR and VR. This will provide marketers with some help in figuring out where to start when creating assets for use in these formats. One of the important areas will be guidelines for reducing viewer discomfort, because that can be caused by improper camera movement in VR.
The Immediate Future Of VR
Surveying industry insiders about the next two years in VR, IAB found that there’s a lot of optimism. “It feels like every month we’re seeing something new, a different angle on it, a different company with a different technology,” said Johnson.
New and better VR technology at lower prices will help spread VR widely. We’ll also see more successes (and failures) among content, helping publishers and marketers refine their offerings. New ad formats will probably emerge, and we’ll see more and better data about how these formats work.
One thing that most agree on is the potential for AR, or mixed reality, and some overlap/crossover with VR.
The success of Pokémon GO is just a beginning for AR, and we’ll see plenty more in the future. Surprising successes like that will help determine future directions for VR and AR, and thus there’s going to be plenty of opportunities for creative content and creative marketing to have a huge impact.
With Google launching its $80 Daydream View virtual reality headset today, November 10, the tech giant has developed an exclusive YouTube VR app that Erin Teague, product manager of YouTube VR, said was built from the ground up and optimized for Daydream and VR.
“YouTube VR puts virtual reality content front and center, is built for comfort and longer sessions, and brings the best of YouTube VR to you,” Teague told [a]listdaily. “Building for VR is new for everyone, so we spent a lot of time experimenting on how we could make this experience as easy, comfortable and amazing as possible. For example, we designed the interface in front of you, so you don’t need to move your head around a lot. You can also choose how far you want the screen and how big the screen is.”
Teague said the new app allows users to easily browse, search and watch their favorite YouTube videos at any time. Users can sign into your existing YouTube account to view their subscriptions and playlists or discover new content with voice and keyboard search in a wide variety of video formats: rectangular, 360 and VR. “Daydream View allowed us to build a much more immersive experience,” Teague said. “The YouTube VR app is built for comfort and longer sessions—you don’t need to take off your headset to navigate like you do on Cardboard—and it has all the functionality you would expect on YouTube, such as searching, watching and sharing, so you can just sit back and enjoy.”
Director of YouTube creators, Jamie Byrne, said that it’s more than just an amazing new technology—VR allows users to make deep, human connections with people, places and stories. From music to cooking to fitness, creators have done some incredible things with this technology. Beauty vlogger Meredith Foster created an 11-minute 360-degree tour of her apartment. Tastemade created a series of cooking videos. Rooster Teeth reimagined their gaming comedy series, Red vs. Blue, for some fresh laughs. And breaking news in 360-degrees is available from HuffPost RYOT.
Byrne said YouTube VR allows users to have experiences or visit places they might not be able to in real life. They can swim with sharks thanks to Curiscope, get a first-hand look at a living, breathing dinosaur at the Natural History Museum in London, travel to Belize with StyleHaul or hike a trail a thousand miles away with Daniel and Kelly at Fitness Blender.
“YouTube creators are well positioned to innovate storytelling and create new formats that will drive VR watch time for years to come,” Byrne said. “Just like over the past 10 years, the YouTube community embraced and innovated video formats, from ‘Let’s Plays’ to beauty tutorials to unboxing videos. We are working with media companies and creators to experiment and learn what works best in VR and try to uncover exciting new ways for our creators to tell stories and engage audiences.”
Byrne said since this is an experimentation period, there’s a wide range of VR content available from unboxing to travel, gaming to music videos, live events to beauty and fashion. “We’ve tried to cover as much as possible to learn what works and what doesn’t work in VR,” Byrne said. “All YouTube content is available on the app.We’ll display VR videos front and center, but you can watch every single YouTube video in VR-mode on a VR headset.”
Byrne said VR expands the original mission statement of YouTube. “We want to democratize the VR experience, enabling any creator to tell stories with VR, but also so that anyone can have a front row experience,” Byrne said.
Mandt VR is a new production company with the ambitious goal of creating high-quality, volume, serialized, virtual reality 360 content. Its 360-degree video shows cover a variety of topics, including a romantic drama called Single in the City—about a woman dating in the digital age—and a series featuring Pokémon GO.
The company’s founder and CEO is the Emmy-award winning TV and film producer, Neil Mandt, who speaks to [a]listdaily about creating and promoting serialized VR content and what challenges are still ahead.
What platforms can Mandt VR content be found on?
Right now, we’re publishing on YouTube 360, Facebook 360 and Littlstar—we entered into a partnership with Littlstar to distribute all of our content. Down the line, who knows whether or not we may have a platform of our own in some capacity? But for right now, our mission is to create content and push it out on other platforms.
What differentiates Mandt VR content from what’s available now?
There are actually two divisions of our company. One of the divisions is a pretty straightforward work-for-hire agency, where people come and ask us to make content for them. That’s pretty simple business.
On the other side of the company, we’re leading the path to serialized content. At this point, there’s very little serialized content that exists anywhere in VR. It’s a lot of tech demos and brand experiences, but there aren’t ten episodes of a series. Mandt VR saw that opportunity, and this last August, we began creating serialized shows. We’re currently in production on over twenty different shows, and each show has a minimum of ten episodes. That’s 200 episodes of serialized content, which—to my knowledge—doesn’t exist anywhere.
What are some of these projects?
Our content is broad. We have a news division that is creating multiple videos per week. That’s led by George Sells, who is a 25-year veteran of local news reporting. Then we are creating dating shows, food shows, travel shows and sports shows. There are also gaming shows—we did a whole series on Pokémon GO. Several of our shows are available on our YouTube channel right now.
One of our bigger projects, which is a massive undertaking, is the partnership we just engaged with PodcastOne. Norm Pattiz created Westwood One and developed that into a massive radio network. He went around to individual podcasters, the top of the top. He collected 200 podcasters, who range from Adam Carolla (who has the most downloaded podcast in the Guinness Book of World Records) to Shaquille O’Neal, to The Housewives—a wide variety of talent. They produce 200 podcasts per week, which equals 450 hours of content. Last year, PodcastOne content had 1.5 billion audio downloads. They don’t have a video presence, and Mandt VR has signed an exclusive contract with them to produce all their podcasts in virtual reality.
For perspective, a cable network like History Channel, A&E or Discovery Network will produce 450 hours of original content in one year. We will be producing 450 hours of content in VR per week. That’s 23,000 hours of VR content per year, and that’s just one channel of our vertical.
About how long are these shows?
The shows we’re doing right now are short form; they’re about 12 minutes. Our other shows are between three and seven minutes. It’s primarily short form content, but in less than a year’s time, we will be moving to streaming all the podcasts live in their full run. So, they’ll be hour or two-hour long shows.
What are the challenges of creating this volume of content in such short time?
The first challenge is quality, and that is the most important thing. I was reading that a lot of the quality in VR right now stinks, and I agree with that. I think there is a serious lacking in quality. There’s a reason for that, and I really understand it, and I think this is where we’re separated from a lot of the people who are just getting into the space. Mandt VR is comprised of a group of award-winning producers and directors who have a long history in creating content.
Personally, I have a background, having produced over 3,000 hours of television, produced or directed over half a dozen movies, and countless digital projects. I come from the storytelling medium, and my entire staff is the same. Where a lot of people who are dipping their toe in the VR world tend to be from a tech background and not necessarily storytellers. No matter what their product is, there’s a lot that’s lacking because they don’t come from a storytelling experience.
How are you promoting these shows, and how does it differ from promoting a traditional digital program?
We’re really in the infancy of that right now. What we’re doing today, and what we’ll be doing in the next couple of years will be changing. Right now, our focus is on promotion through partnerships. For example, there’s the PodcastOne partnership. They will be promoting it across their platform. So, as we’re creating content with partners, we’re looking for promotion with someone that we can work with to put the message out.
Our show, Don’t Eat This—one of the stars of the show is one of the top 100 Instagramers, according to Rolling Stone magazine. So, he’s pushing out. We push out through social media and traditional media, but we look to have partners who have a voice that are going to be heard.
What do you think is the adoption rate for VR, for both premium and mobile headsets?
I would say that the adoption rate is just above zero percent. It’s very low right now. The majority of the people I encounter when I’m talking about VR, outside of VR enthusiasts, have heard of it but haven’t touch a pair of goggles and have not had an experience. I see this next year as the beginning of that shift. I think PlayStation VR was a seminal moment, getting VR into homes with families, where kids can then educate their parents and older siblings and friends on the VR experience. I think we’re going to see a ramp up in the adoption rate in 2017, but we won’t see mass adoption until 2018.
Mandt VR is playing for the long haul. We’re creating content now that has limited monetizational abilities—and will have a limited reach—but knowing that as the adoption rate grows that there will be a lack of content and Mandt VR can fill that hole by having volume serialized content for people to watch.
What differentiates Mandt VR from companies like Jaunt VR?
I’m incredibly excited about other companies who are in this space in a meaningful way, and Jaunt is a company like that. I’m a fan of their work. What differentiates us from them is that the content we’re creating has been mostly created internally by our staff of professional storytellers. Where Jaunts seems to have a broader mission of not only creating content, but having a platform on day one, as well as creating tech and camera equipment. Mandt VR is only focused on one thing, which is creating high volume, very good quality serialized content.
Mandt VR is additionally looking to move beyond PodcastOne to create other live content in the music, sports and news space. So, we are moving towards a livestreaming network very soon.
Mandt VR is currently focused on short form content, but do you think that audiences will be able to engage with longer experiences in the near future?
Yes, I do. In fact, Mandt VR has already begun the early production of a talk show with a marquee host. That show will be 30 minutes long, it will have a live studio audience, it will be produced in the Mandt VR studio here in Hollywood and it will also be cut down by segments for more consumable viewership. However, there will be a 30-minute version of the show that will be distributed, and we’re in talks with Google about potentially launching that with Daydream.
With both PlayStation VR and the Pixel Phone (Daydream) out now, what challenges remain for the mass adoption of VR?
The challenges are having people who have real production background getting into the space and creating quality content. The biggest problem that VR faces right now is bad content—that is something that can turn people off. So, right now, I think we need to have more companies creating content that is serialized and professionally produced.
That will happen over time. If you think about the growth of the internet, or the growth of the mobile phone and mobile content, we went through this all before. We have websites from the ‘90s that are terrible, and the reason was because the person who was making the website had a tech background and was able to make the tech exist, but they didn’t have the story. Over time, we got more people involved in the creation of creative content who had a storytelling background and things got a little smoother. That is what is going to happen with VR.
In the short term, I think the leading players are going to be in the gaming space because they have developed storytelling that works well with these devices. They just have to enhance it into a 360 sphere. Adoption will happen first and foremost with gaming, and it will grow over time, as goggles become less bulky. It’s going to be a combination of storytelling experiences and changes in hardware that make it more comfortable. All of this will happen between now and 2018.
It’s been argued that the only way to appreciate good content is to have bad content. What are your thoughts on that?
I would agree with that. I do think that bad content helps you appreciate good content. But my observation right now is that there is very little good content and virtually no good serialized content. That’s where we are trying to make our mark. It’s a wide-open space. If you see a show, like it, and want to watch more, you can’t because everyone is doing these one-off demos. That’s in large part because of costs. It takes time and it’s laborious to stitch these products. At Mandt VR, we have 40 people who are only doing virtual reality. We have made a significant investment to produce this content, and as a result of having this team, we were able to create an assembly line setup to bring the costs down and create more content.
If you look at it from a business perspective, many people ask if it’s too soon to do that because you cannot monetize at this point. I say, I’d rather be a leader than be last. That is our play.
Marketing is largely responsible for driving critical consumer-facing, revenue-generating systems and applications, and for a third consecutive year, those budgets will only continue to balloon.
A Gartner survey revealed Wednesday that 57 percent of executives working at companies with at least $250 million in revenue said they expect their marketing resources to increase.
With customer acquisition continuing to be a priority, marketers are placing an emphasis on using the dearth of data available to them to better make more informed decisions across their respective enterprises.
According to a June poll by Falcon.io, 64 percent of marketers indicate they use social data in their marketing activities.
The Oracle Data Cloud is taking a lead in the data deluge by fueling a competitive advantage for marketing and social to help companies drive smarter decisions in order to connect with consumers.
Cory Treffiletti, vice president of marketing and partner solutions for Oracle, joined [a]listdaily to discuss the strategy behind Oracle Data Cloud, and how data is enabling forward-thinking brands.
What is the concept and philosophy behind Oracle Data Cloud? How are you differing yourselves in the data deluge?
Oracle Data Cloud is the leader in Data as a Service (DaaS), which is really a techy way of saying we help our customers connect more deeply with their customers through the utilization of data. We provide marketers with the highest quality, highest scale third-party data as well as solutions and services around the connection of first-party data to enable better targeting, deeper personalization and effective measurement of their customer experiences. We aggregate data and feed it into any Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, both Oracle and non-Oracle stack, so your marketing programs will be more effective and accountable. An analogy I like to use is you can buy a car, but the car won’t work unless you put the right fuel into it. SaaS is the car, and DaaS is the fuel that drives the engine. For us, the biggest differentiator is our ID Graph, which connects billions of consumers across all of the devices they use—from mobile to desktop, tablets and beyond, into a unified view of the consumer. If you understand your audience more deeply, and you can identify and recognize them when you ‘see’ them across devices, you can connect and create a better, more long-lasting relationship.
How is Oracle Data Cloud building out its services to precisely target at scale?
We combine online intent signals, offline purchase data and apply layers of data science to it in order to ensure that we are providing solutions to our clients to precisely target at scale. We then organize ourselves in a go-to-market way that is centered on industry verticals, so that our team can speak the same language and understand the challenges faced by our customers. To us, it’s very important to be embedded in their category and centered around their needs rather than talking about what we do.
Can you detail your concept behind “relevant reach”? What does that exactly mean?
Relevant reach is the sweet spot between campaign scale and targeting accuracy. It’s about making sure you know and understand the audience you want to be speaking to, and can recognize them at scale. This approach helps us improve upon the flawed, but standard, practice where marketers focus on scale by building large, but ill-defined, audiences based on potentially inaccurate demographic data. This practice of broad targeting is problematic because it misses lots of potential buyers and reaches lots of uninterested households. Relevant reach increases accuracy while maintaining an effective scale for the campaigns, thus maximizing reach and impact without also reaching irrelevant households and wasting media spend.
How does Oracle leverage its suite of data services to fit within the overall company strategy?
One example of how Oracle is leveraging our suite of data services is through our recently announced next-generation cloud strategy in Adaptive Intelligent Applications. This new SaaS offering blends third-party data with real-time analytics and behavioral inputs to create Cloud Applications that automatically offer individualized recommended actions and streamline tasks of business users such as human resource and finance professionals. These offerings are based on the insights from the deep analytics contained within Oracle Data Cloud and help improve business results across organizations.
How has Oracle Data Cloud been received by marketers? Why is employing such services a big boon for brands?
We’ve been received well and we really do look at our customers as partners. We sit between the channels, the brands and the agencies, and we help all sides of the ecosystem to better utilize data for that deeper level of connection with the end-customer. We currently work with 96 of the top 100 US advertisers and the vast majority of global advertisers as well. Advertisers are quickly learning that data is a necessary element to the success of their campaigns, but data is a big environment so we help them make it small. We work side-by-side with our partners and we learn their challenges, use the same lexicon and speak the same language to enable solutions they need rather than fitting them into a box of products that we sell. The proof is in the results we prove time-and-time again. The more data-driven your strategy is, the better results and less waste in media spend you achieve.
How are you marketing Oracle Data Cloud?
We focus on helping our customer connect more deeply with their customers. We provide educational tools and enablement tools. We perform audience workshops and get very deeply involved in an almost consultative fashion up front to make sure that the data we have available and the solutions our teams can offer are tailored to your needs. We have a ‘traditional’ content strategy that drives demand, but we also offer a free service called The Data Hotline that takes in as many as 1,400 unique requests for questions around data segmentation and insights on a monthly basis and we turn around answers in less than 24 hours; this is a free service. We offer a no-cost Data Lab series that educates agency teams on the intricacies of the data landscape and we teach them about all the data providers in the category, not just the data we own and sell. We believe that in an emerging category, education will bring everyone forward, and we live by that strategy.
Earlier in September, Visa and Oracle introduced a service to help merchants understand whether their digital advertising efforts are influencing consumer purchase decisions. How will this help measure whether ad exposure led to a sales transaction?
As an example, a retailer who wants to promote a seasonal sale might select a target audience based on a mix of demographic and aggregated past purchase data. A digital ad is then delivered to that group using the Oracle ID Graph across multiple channels and devices. Visa and Oracle then work together to offer insight into whether or not a Visa credit card purchase was made online or in-store following the merchant’s digital ad views. These results help indicate the ad’s effectiveness, allowing marketers to adjust the offer, creative and/or channels accordingly.
Why is it critical for Fortune 500 companies to develop tailored marketing campaigns and products around data?
Your audience demands it. A recent study by Forrester stated that 77 percent of consumers do not appreciate inconsistent messaging across channels and devices, so they know when you are not paying attention. When you market to consumers without using data to target and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, you are essentially shooting in the dark and wasting advertising dollars and that guarantees failure. Data-driven marketing not only allows advertisers to target their audience at the right place and time, but the data and results from measuring those campaigns inform future decisions on campaign content, creative and audiences.
How are you leveraging the use of cross-device services? How does proper execution help drive value for a brand?
The Oracle ID Graph, which is the power behind our linkage solutions such as OnRamp and Crosswise, connects billions of consumers across all of the devices they use—from mobile to desktop to tablets. This allows advertisers to create a more holistic view of their customers and more accurately reach them at the right time and place with the right message. This means you can identify a consumer, recognize where they may be in the customer journey and personalize that message to them. Most marketers can do this on a desktop, but that means you are missing the largest and fastest-growing portion of your audience on a mobile device. We remove that inefficiency.
How does data bridge the gap between advertising spend and business results?
Advertising without data is often wasted dollars. Data is essential in delivering the right message to the right person at the right time in the right place. Without good data, you don’t reach the right people, and you can’t tell if your advertising is working. It’s like driving a car with a blindfold on.
For being a free game, some titles like Clash Royale rake in a whole lot of money—upwards of $2 million dollars per day. You would think that with a “freemium” player base, there would be two types of personalities: those who pay and those who don’t. Optimove, a company that specializes in customer retention, tracked 235 social gamers over 18 months and identified not two, but six types of players based on behavior and tendency to buy.
Pay Or Just Play?
Optimove describes the first type of player as the “new, non-spender.” This user has registered in the past 14 days but hasn’t made a payment yet. While first-day payments are limited to about 24 percent of players, a full 44 percent of players won’t make their first payment for more than a week after registration. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) will wait for four weeks or longer, which is a critical period for publishers. A separate study by Nielsen revealed that mobile gamers are generally content with a new game for about three to five weeks before they start to crave new content.
When marketing for the new non-spender type, Optimove urges patience. “The strategy should be brand awareness and building, content marketing based on gameplay behavior, and only then a push for first payment,” notedMoshe Demri, Optimove’s director of strategic services in a statement accompanying the data.
The second type of player is called a “new spender.” This user has just made his/her first purchase within 14 days of registration. The more payments a user makes, the more likely it is that they will continue to buy. While this is potentially exciting, publishers cannot assume a user will make a second purchase. In fact, Optimove estimates a less than one percent (0.8) chance of making a second payment. If they do keep buying, however, it will happen sooner rather than later. Data shows that 39 percent of players who make a second payment will do so within one day, and 64 percent will do so within one week.
Hey, Big Spender
“Active spenders” are the third type of player identified. Often called “whales,” free game publishers go all “Ahab” over the prospect of catching these elusive creatures. Active spenders have made at least two payments on two different days within the previous two weeks and typically bring in the most consistent income for a freemium business model. Looking at mobile game revenue for the world’s top titles, it’s tempting to believe that most of the players are breaking out the wallet for add-ons on a daily basis, but Optimove found quite the contrary. In fact, only 10 percent of players bring in 75 percent of a social game’s revenue, and just one percent—the biggest whales—bring in 30 percent. Much like how a casino comps its big spenders, Optimove urges publishers to make sure their active spenders know they’re VIPs through exclusive rewards.
Was It Something We Said?
The fourth type of players identified by Optimove’s study are called “active non-spenders.” The good news is, they like your game and have been active recently. The troubling news is is that they haven’t made a payment in more than 21 days. “This is a problematic group for the publisher, that must be addressed,” notes Demri in the report. “Either the players in this segment will churn (become inactive) very soon or it signifies a problem in the game’s economy.” Demri goes on to suggest stronger offers with bonuses for higher payments.
“Churn spenders” are the fifth type identified in the report. These once-active players have spent money but became inactive during the past 21 days. If said player has been active for at least 90 days before churning, their brand awareness and gameplay experience make them more likely to return than someone who has played for less time and stopped. On the other hand, Optimove suggests a cross-sell to other titles to keep churn spenders entertained in other areas where they might begin spending again.
The sixth and final gamer type is the “reactivated spender.” This is the prodigal user who has returned to the game after a long absence to play and/or make a purchase again. Data shows that most of these players will churn again within two weeks of their reactivation and therefore need more attention. If this new activity includes a purchase, the reactivated spender is more likely to become invested in the title again and stay a while longer.
Why Players Spend
According to a recent study by NPD, 77 percent of buyers said that microtransactions allow them to extend their enjoyment of a particular game. While being able to earn virtual currency to buy items is preferred, 78 percent are willing to spend some amount of real money to purchase in-game items or power-ups. Meanwhile, 48 percent of those who do not purchase microtransactions felt the content was not worth the extra expense.
As the world tuned in to social media livestreams of the presidential debates and Election Day coverage, it’s amazing to think about how accessible and interactive the medium has become. The New York Times, who has been an early adopter of livestreaming and virtual reality journalism, set up at a voting center in Jackson Heights, New York on Tuesday and asked viewers on Facebook to ask questions for those standing in line.
Comments poured in from not only across America as voters waited anxiously for results, but from other countries, too to discuss issues like immigration and universal health care. The ability for viewers to become a part of the news as it unfolded made this stream a success, garnering over half million views and nearly six thousands comments. While live, on-the-street journalism is far from new, the ability for viewers to direct the course of programming in real-time certainly is.
For brands venturing into the world of livestream, many find success not in production value but interactivity and entertainment. Seventy-two percent of Americans now own smart phones, making it possible for 72 percent of America to create, watch or participate in a livestream at any given time.
Tapping into the spontaneity of the moment and inviting viewers to become a part of said moment is helping brands find success by placing control into its audience’s hands.
With the advent of Facebook Live, major restaurant chains including McDonald’s, Burger King and Popeye’s have hosted low-budget, but highly interactive livestreams that encouraged audience participation through games, trivia and giveaways. Recently, Carl’s Jr. literally acted out commercials during a live Twitch stream hosted by Vice for their new gaming-dedicated site Waypoint. The ability for the audience to participate and interact with the restaurant’s star mascot made viewers feel engaged and delighted to be a part of the action.
Unlike static video, livestreams capitalize on the “fear of missing out” phenomenon and excitement of seeing it first or “being there.” Monetary investment involves little more than a camera and internet connection, allowing brands to tell stories in an engaging way.
The two advertising titans in Facebook and Google both continued to show strong growth in revenue due to the increasing power of mobile advertising. Mobile ads are dominant, and these two behemoths are pulling the world along with them as they demonstrate the marketing force behind mobile.
Mobile has become the most popular way to access the internet worldwide for the first time, surpassing desktop computers, according to data released by StatCounter. Their figures show that 51.3 percent of all web visits came from mobile devices, compared to 48.7 percent of web visits from desktop devices. The balance is still with the desktop in the US, though, with 58 percent of visits from desktops versus 42 percent from mobile. Still, it’s easy to see that as the trend continues, mobile will become the primary way to access the internet even in the US.
Facebook delivered extraordinary results for its third quarter, with $7.01 billion in revenue and a very impressive $2.379 billion in profit. Comparing the results to the same quarter last year, Facebook saw revenues go up 59 percent, with profits up 160 percent over the same quarter last year. Of that total revenue, $6.8 billion came from advertising, with 84 percent (or $5.7 billion) from mobile.
Compare this to the Facebook of days gone by, when revenues from games like Zynga’s social games made up the bulk of Facebook’s revenue. Facebook successfully transformed itself into an advertising engine, first on desktop and now on mobile. The company has compiled over $26 billion, plenty to fund its research efforts on things like Oculus, and providing inexpensive internet access to the world (over 40 million people have now connected through Internet.org).
Facebook accomplished all this with its 1.79 billion monthly users, which has grown 16 percent since last year (and nearly 5 percent this last quarter). Daily active users were up 17 percent over last year to 1.18 billion. On mobile, Facebook is doing very well: 1.66 billion mobile monthly active users, up 5.7 percent from last quarter, and 1.055 billion mobile-only users.
One other notable fact for marketers about Facebook’s results is that desktop ad revenue grew 18 percent from the same quarter last year due to Facebook’s success in thwarting Adblock Plus and other ad blockers.
Facebook’s chief financial officer David Wehner said, “On ad blocking, in terms of the impact I would just point out that this quarter we had 18 percent year-over-year desktop revenue growth. If you look at recent quarters, it was about half of that growth rate on a year-over-year basis. So that increment, that acceleration in desktop revenue growth is largely due to our efforts on reducing the impact of ad blocking. So that’s what led to the acceleration of desktop revenue growth.”
Meanwhile, Google, now known formally as Alphabet, also turned in impressive financial results. Overall, the company reported revenue of $22.4 billion, up 20 percent over the same quarter last year, with net income of $5.06 billion. Both numbers handily beat analyst estimates, with the net income 27 percent higher than the previous quarter.
Clicks on Google ads increased 33 percent over last year’s quarter, the fastest growth in the last four years. Mobile is driving these strong results, where Google controls 95 percent of mobile search results (compared to 78 percent on desktop PCs), according to Merkle. Analysts estimate that more than half of Google’s revenue comes from mobile ads. Cost-per-click, though, fell 11 percent year-over-year, while paid clicks grew by 33 percent. Cost-per-click is dropping, but Google is boosting the number of clicks—and analysts wonder how long both of those trends can continue.
Google’s shift in revenues from desktop to mobile was a sharp one—eMarketer estimates that last year about 60 percent of Google’s ad revenues came from desktop, while this year it’s about 50/50. By 2018, eMarketer expects that Google will drive 60 percent of its revenues from mobile ads, at least in the US. On a worldwide basis, Google is already getting nearly 60 percent of its advertising revenues from mobile.
Google is also seeing strong growth in YouTube ad revenues, with growth this year expected to top 30 percent to hit over $5.5 billion worldwide. “Google’s accelerating ad revenues have been driven by capitalizing on usage and marketing trends like mobile search, YouTube’s popularity and programmatic buying,” said eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Martín Utreras.
Google’s essential appeal to advertisers “is simple and is resonating: our mobile properties like search, YouTube, maps and Google Play are where people turn when they’re actively interested in something,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai during the earnings call. Pichai characterized Google’s position in the online world to the glory years of network television. “Our services are prime time for the mobile world.”
While the digital ad business is growing handily for Google and Facebook, Re/Code reports that the rest of the digital ad business is shrinking, as noted by Jason Kint of Digital Content Next, a trade group for digital publishers. He estimates that Google had 60 percent of the ad market’s growth over the past year, and Facebook had 43 percent—adding up to 103 percent, meaning the rest of the market got smaller. Those numbers are taken from Facebook and Google’s public statements and IAB’s numbers from a survey.
Mobile is becoming the key path for people going online, especially around the world. As the smartphones are dropping in price, their appeal is reaching the billions who could not afford more expensive devices—and had never dreamed of owning a computer. The growth in mobile is happening in India, in Southeast Asia, in Africa—and that’s driving the growth in the advertising business as well.
Marketers are gaining unprecedented reach for their goods and services, with incredible amounts of data along with that reach. Increasingly, access to those markets is running through Google and Facebook, though other players like Snapchat seem to be doing well. Google is best at capturing purchase intent with search, while Facebook is best at the other end of the marketing funnel generating brand awareness.
Marketers should focus on these two ad leaders for the foreseeable future, unless some serious changes start to shake down.
YouTube Gaming officially entered into mobile eSports on November 4-6 with King’s Cup Live on YouTube Gaming, a $100,000 Clash Royale major tournament that was held live in Los Angeles at YouTube Space. The event opened the door for competitors on iOS and Android devices from around the globe to compete against eight of the top Clash Royale YouTubers.
While mobile games like Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory and Blizzard Entertainment’s Hearthstone are forging new paths to success in mobile eSports, Supercell’s Clash Royale has exploded as one of the most popular games on YouTube Gaming. According to SuperData Research, Clash Royale was the third highest grossing mobile game for the month of September.
YouTube Gaming worked with Supercell and Google Play to unlock a special in-game King’s Cup Special Event Challenge, which offered players free access to play with cards they hadn’t yet unlocked. Global head of gaming content at YouTube, Ryan Wyatt, explains to [a]listdaily why he’s expanding into mobile eSports in this exclusive interview.
Why did you decide to focus on mobile competitive gaming?
We’ve hosted broadcasts from several other big eSports events but we wanted to do something to represent mobile gaming on YouTube since it’s such a big category for us. This allowed for an event that was entertaining, but also lent itself to competition. Outside of King’s Cup, we’ve had all of the Dota 2 Majors and International, League of Legends Championship Series, ESL Pro League, Call of Duty World League and others. We’ve helped organize many shoots and live broadcasts also from the YouTube Space like Guitar Hero, Super Mario Maker, Call of Duty Infinity Warfare, Battleborn and the Heroes of the Storm launch.
What do you feel is the appeal of Clash Royale with your YouTube audience?
As one of our top 15 games on the platform, it speaks to a broad audience. It’s easy to understand but has a deeper meta for those that want to pursue the game more deeply.
How are you collaborating with Supercell on this activation?
We partnered with Supercell and Google Play to bring this tournament together and make it available to all players to participate in.
How are you supplementing this King’s Cup event with additional content for fans from YouTubers?
The whole name of this event has been content. Knowing how popular unboxing videos are across YouTube, we customized this idea by sending our invited creators fabricated chests which contained handwritten invites to the event. Each creator did an “unchesting” video which drove over 2 million views over eight creator channels. We also worked with Google Play to design a first-of-kind in-app Kings Cup Challenge, which was a special game mode you could play within Clash Royale. Hundreds of thousands of players participated in this event, including our creators, who made videos like Road to the King’s Cup, which drove additional awareness. Even more, all the creators posted the event trailer to the event on their own channel. Lastly, we made sure entertainment was the main product of the livestream: YouTube creators shot shoulder content (interviews, quick facts, fun facts, etc.) that they also posted on their channels to supplement the livestream.
What potential do you see for Clash Royale when it comes to eSports moving forward?
The game has tons of potential—the game designers are focusing a lot on the game balance and mechanics and are thinking very critically about how the game will be played and consumed for the next year. Clash Royale has a very strong user base and right now and the metagame is being tweaked so that very high-level play and dense strategy can be made. These are key ingredients for an eSport and I believe that once there are more events that can better expose the game as a serious mobile eSport, the overall ecosystem (teams, players, tournament organizations) will grow.
What type of correlation have you seen between mobile consumption of eSports or Clash Royale YouTube content and the rise of mobile eSports like Vainglory and Hearthstone?
Clash Royale is one of our top 15 games on YouTube, so it’s commanded a massive audience. The gameplay is dynamic and short form with consistent updates and tweaks from Supercell, which makes it unique. With the large user base, users have used YouTube as a primary source for their information and entertainment needs. The game is updating constantly and the meta of the game is ever-changing. YouTube has become the home to several creators who have garnered audiences in the millions of subscribers.
How does your own eSports background help with creating competitions like this?
Some people on our team, including myself, have been involved in competitions across the world for the past decade and it has allowed us to have a good idea of what to do and not do in these events. From the flow of the tournament broadcast (less downtime, high production value), to the competitive integrity (the rules and format), viewers need to have a reason to watch. Crafting this event, we knew that we needed players who audiences needed to root for, but we also wanted to root out the best underdog story. We also wanted to dangle a large cash prize in order to truly bring out some of the best players (we had high attendance from Korea and out-of-state participants). Although Clash Royale isn’t revered as one of the top eSport games in the scene, it has a lot of the personalities, hardcore fans and accessibility that can make it a strong contender.
Is this an experiment or potential beginning of a bigger push into organized eSports or competitive gaming events?
We love being able to offer our gaming community a place to watch all kinds of content. From VoD, 360, live, mobile and more. We’ll continue to make sure gamers come to the platform and are welcomed to experience some of the best eSports competitions in the world.
Learn everything you need to know to invest in today’s fastest-growing media channel—Competitive Gaming and eSports on 2.16.17 in Los Angeles. Go to alistsummit.com for more info.
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-The AList Team
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